The man I currently like so much just told me I am the most neurotic person he has ever known. It may have been in jest, I don’t know. We were in the middle of what I consider a light and chill conversation so I didn’t think he meant it in a pejorative manner. I should be offended, and I was, but only for a bit. I took it to mean I was overanxious and oversensitive (he also told me this, remember?). If he meant it differently than that, I really don’t care because really, what can I do? Disagree and throw back something equally offensive? Fifteen years ago I may have fired back immediately. But nah.

It is hard enough to encapsulate the feelings I contend with on a daily basis, so I refrain (sometimes, unsuccessfully) from reacting defensively whenever words like that get thrown in my face. Sometimes when I have processed it fully, a part of me questions the level of self-respect I have. Do I really just allow people to trample me like that? I mean not just in the instance above; there were incidents in the past where friends have nudged me to stand up for myself and have the dignity to say something or walk away. To be honest, unless it’s blatantly a gross violation, I can be dense and…meh. I just hope it really isn’t reflective of how much I value myself as a person. I would like to think I value myself highly, sometimes a lot that I have this innate ability to make everything about me (one of my guy bestfriends can attest to this!), but it may be healthy to reevaluate this stance once in a while.


There are days when all is good and steady, that despite the inconvenience and substitutions, you make do with what you have, and days end better than it started; it does not hurt as much, it does not make you feel you lost a lot of time and opportunities; it’s good.

Then there are days when it just hits you how come you are still here, why is there that lump in your throat from the things you want to say but can’t, want to express and let someone feel but there’s that void, days when you sit down, stare, and stay put, and you just let the tears flow in the dead of the night, knowing fully well the same things will still be the same when the sun rises, if not worse.

Life is a daily battle of choosing which armor to use to get you through the day. Some days it’s the easier choice to flow without effort, and some days it is cathartic to snap. I’ve been most times the latter and before the words of wisdom and advice come, please know that I know all of that. I do. And thank you. No battle is ever the same.

In the Most Unlikely of Places

I wrote this two weeks ago. The vacation’s over but the sentiments remain.

img_1923I am in the middle of an island vacation as I write this. I made a firm realization that I feel my most confident self when I am at the beach. This is a body image issue which I have struggled with for years; and really, throwback photos have a way of telling you how much you allowed to let yourself go. But instead of feeling ashamed that my arms are thick, my tummy protrudes more prominently than my size 36 breasts, and my belly overflows (as in umaahon, if you may relate to the struggle) from my bikini, I have not felt happier and more secure than when I’m in my swimsuit, sprawled in the sand getting a tan. I figured it must not be entirely the beach; perhaps it is the power emanating from stripping myself and letting my skin show — not in a perverted manner, but the feeling of displaying this is all I have, and this is enough; I am enough.

Beyond the body positive thoughts, I am lucky to be timely reminded that I can be very hard on myself. Last year was a challenging year for me which made me start touching base with my complacency and worth. It has been hard, you know? But where it’s a concern to be attended to and fixed, simple as that, I find myself agonizing over it and why it happened to me and all the self-pity thoughts which do not really help me at all.

People change and are afforded opportunities to do so every single day. I believe I have long earned that opportunity but sometimes I still feel I cannot catch a break. Maybe I have not really fully caught one yet…and it is okay. Someone once told me some people surprisingly have it easier and some are meant to fall in line, sometimes for a longer period that you cannot even see the end of it. It’s a reality of life but it does come with plenty of perks, too. Even while waiting in line.

A few weekends ago a friend messaged me to let me know how she admires how self-assured and confident I am. I can only remember a group conversation days prior where we talked about hopes for this year and what we were thankful for last year. At any rate, I needed that message and it came at the right time. My heart was so full.

I wrote on the first page of my 2018 planner that I am not afraid anymore. I believe it’s fear that really holds me back. Of coming to terms with things I lost and can never get back, of thinking if I move my feet I will be left with nothing and it is not an option as a responsible adult, of not leaving my comfort zone because nothing and no one wanted me anyway. If I let go of that fear, the worst thing than can happen to me is nothing I have not experienced yet. The cycle of fear has long overstayed and it’s time to break out of it already.

Right now I am still on vacation which greatly helps me steady myself and regain my balance. This is going to be short and definitely sweet but when I go back home, I will start looking more seriously at what’s out there. Better things are there outside of my comfort zone, perhaps in the most unlikely places. Until I start looking, I’ll never know.

10:45 p.m.
21 January 2018
Hilton Hawaiian Village

Go, Grow, Glow

I applied for a higher position at work and I didn’t get it. To say I was more relieved than disappointed won’t be a lie.

The interview was something that felt like a staff meeting. I knew it then that nah, I’m not going to get it. I didn’t prepare for it as I initially intended – the night before was the showing of Justice League, and you know how I hyped myself up for that movie, hehe – but I think I did okay. Not “Hire her!” worthy but I did fine. There was one question where the moment I said my response, I kind of rewired and thought, “Crap, wrong answer.” But I let it slide. What’s done is done.

The timing of the opening was not good for me also. This year I made judgment errors and am still working my way to re-learn and reform, and basically grounding myself again. It’s years of complacency and burnout that merited out of character actions. It was over and done, and I believe things happen for a reason so let us leave it at that.

I was more touched by the reactions of people who thought I was going to get it. I’m sure they were equally happy for the one who did get it — I am, and no offense to other competent colleagues who vied for the position, I believe the management chose the best one among the roster of candidates. Her experience and macro familiarity of the section will help her well. And I also told her that this time, she will have strong people below her who will be allies. That surely counts for something.

The reactions were probably brought by the impression that I was kinda a shoo-in; but see, I wasn’t. More importantly, and this is something people close to me have recognized early on — was it something that I really wanted? Well, the money, sure. That even was my first reason for applying, who are we kidding. Anyway, I feel I don’t have a natural knack for operations – I even said it before:

Operational changes are also in full swing at work and even though I still struggle to get them all in my (literally) big head, it’s exciting to be a part of something like it. Operations management is not my strong suit; I’ve always been the correspondence and social media person, so getting out of this small comfort zone is exhilarating if you’re called in to participate at the right moment.

The night before the interview one of my bestfriends commented that the slightest hint that I was not really into it will definitely show in any form during the interview. So his reminder was, just make sure I really wanted it. I guess I didn’t.

Maybe I thought I can do it because was banking on job familiarity and the people (I’ve said time and again, people pull me through). Then again, if not really equipped, baka doon ako magkalat. That is more embarrassing.

Speaking of people, this only means I will be staying at a place where I believe I really belong anyway. I forgot if I articulated it the same way in the interview, but I always describe our team integration as something that wasn’t easy in the beginning, but it has evolved into something very interesting. Little successes made acceptance faster and now I am seeing the promise and — if I may use the term — awesomeness of what we are doing and will do in the future. It’s still shaky in some areas but overall, really, creating something amazing from scratch — who would not want to be a part of that?

Right now, all is good and peachy. I hope! I am stable enough and I am happy about it. Bloom where you are planted, as the saying goes. Been doing little steps to bloom again.

Lastly, I got this message (after a video call) which was sent during my interview.

Teehee, ano, labaaan? Okay na muna ‘to! Kebs na kung di umangat, matagal na akong napromote. Ito na lang, hahaha!

Tolerance is not Indifference

I would like to think I am tolerant but not indifferent.

These are two different traits which are prone to be muddled when you are perceived to not care about, well, many things. I do care, it’s just that it’s a personal preference to let people live their own lives. When you apply it to family and close friends, it can very well be misconstrued as indifference. Deadma. Kebs. Walang pakialam, walang puso, to an extent, walang utang na loob. Hurtful, in a way.

I can give my thoughts on issues and situations but I deliberately make it a point to leave the last decision or conclusion to whoever I am talking to. How to move on from a breakup? Here are my thoughts based on what I know about your situation BUT up to you. Do you think I can do this? I think I do, BUT ikaw, you decide if you really want to. I read a blood relation on a warpath in social media — I ask if he/she is okay and perhaps may wanna tone it down BUT then again, bahala ka kung anong gusto mong gawin.

I may be crazy chatty and noisy and jokingly condescending but my closest friends know it’s all for fun. I personally do not feel comfortable having a say on someone’s life other than my own. At the end of the day, buhay mo yan. That’s just my reason for my being perceived as walang pakialam when the jokes are over. Maybe sometimes I overdo it that they think I just choose to forget. Well, minsan (lol), but I notice things, I hear laments, I read about situations — so my conscious and subconscious do know, I just choose not to react. The bahala ka sa buhay mo in a good way, you know what I mean? Of course, it’s common sense that when danger or a threat is looming, that becomes a different story.

More importantly, and this is where it becomes “complicated” allegedly, I simply do not want the same done to me. Tricky, as many will say (had said!) akala mo kung sino na ako na hindi na pwedeng sabihan. THAT’S NOT IT. Iba ‘yon. You have the freedom to speak to me, but to take them in, ako na ‘yon.

Life isn’t supposed to be a quid pro quo stance all the time. But I don’t opine on your life so I respectfully request you not give unsolicited advice and pass them off as what’s best for me.

I have a very limited number of people whom I allowed to have a clout in my life. My mother tops this list. Even then, it’s not completely true — because I only ultimately decide what I want, when I want to do it, and why. It’s really very simple. Harmlessly simple.

The Plague of the Vague

img_33761One good thing with our social media accounts is how we can post something, anything, that can be for someone without actually naming that someone. We are all treated to this everyday, and let’s admit it, there are times when the angry ones are the juicier ones, the more that catches our attention. On the other end, when you post something non-warfreakish with a person in mind, we carefully craft it albeit vaguely, but it reeks of ‘This is for you, hope you get it” undertones. If the person is dense or uninterested, your message will just be liked by equally clueless friends (because that’s what they’re there for, minsan kahit hindi nabasa, like lang agad — nasa friendship code ba yan?!), and will be drowned by more pressing posts. In short, mapapanis. :-p Lucky for you if the intended recipient read it yet didn’t do anything. Luckier if the intended read it, got it, and sprang into action. Ang haba ng buhok mo, girl. Ang pogi mo, boy.

On the other hand,  your “vaguely crafted” message will also be read by people other than the intended recipient, unless you restrict it to just the two of you (which will beg the question, hello, how psycho can you get?!). If it is a declaration of feelings, a pronouncement of whatever bubbling up inside, a subtle invite – lahat yan will be open to interpretation, and you have to be prepared for these, erm, possibilities. Particularly with regard to invites, we can be so engrossed hitting our target, tapos iba ang tinamaan. A different one took you up on it. That will be so awkward to decline. Sige nga, ngayon ka magmaganda.

This blog post is a big obvious example of such vagueness. (Sana nga na-gets mo.)

This is exactly what I thought as one of the downsides of being vague. There, the very lazy word sana.

Life is too short and the cyberspace is so vast to not be specific. The vagueness protects us from putting down all our cards on the table, it allows us to guard our heart, but at what cost?


February Has Folded

Two months down, ten to go.

February was a busy month for me and I loved it. Most of our work-related efforts culminated in the America in 3D expo that our office did last weekend. I was part of a small group that shot an instructional video, and I worked on information materials in between. I planned to steer clear of any work-related duties (meaning about visas) during the expo but duty called, so I found myself working for two days. I didn’t have to give up my non-visa duties, so that’s cool. I just had to divide my time between working on my posts (both on-stage and off) and going to the Nido Discovery Center for the Reading Corner. I can really say those two days were a blast.

A colleague and yours truly. For two days, we spent an hour demystifying myths about what we do. This photo was snapped by my friend Kaye C. from the second floor of MOA.

That’s not me but (Teacher) Princess, my main POC for the Reading Corner project. These adorable kids, who came in batches of 100, were regaled with different stories and activities. I read “How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?” to a group and assisted in (parent) crowd control and other fun activities for the kids. I rarely say and feel this but during this activity, I was so in love with the children!

My work days also have been changed, in a good way mostly, since my friend moved back to the section. We brought back our lunch routine which made me appreciate more the view we get when eating at the office cafeteria. I was so used to it that it hardly appealed to me. I know people who would pay to have a view of Manila Bay and a busy stretch of Roxas Boulevard while eating overpriced lunch; it’s great that it’s always been there for me to enjoy.

Part of my extra-curriculars at work is being a docent for visitors of the office. Touring people inside our compound is always fun, especially for young students who seem to be so in awe of our huge paintings and portraits. Last week, I had the most interesting set of teens to date. They are from different parts of Mindanao and were former child combatants. They had interesting questions and were very cheerful and hopeful. They proudly told me their beaches in Mindanao – the rarely-explored, non-commercialized ones — are great (haven’t been there but from pictures alone, I agree), better than many popular beaches we have, and I am always welcome to visit. They are a curious bunch but definitely not impressionable. I was showing them an old photo of Manila Bay pre-WWII with trading ships and blue waters; many commented what happened to it, but in the same vein assured me that there’s still hope. When my tour ended, they all told me they wish we could see each other again – either they return to Manila or I go to Mindanao. I was really floored. These are simple things that make me more thankful about this job: the opportunity to come across these interesting people.

Another interesting offsite work encounter came in form of a visit to a training ship managed by the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seafarers’ Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) by Manila Bay. When you drive along Roxas Boulevard, it’s hard to miss that ship floating in the bay. We were shown different parts of the ship which made us understand more the job functions of seafarers applying for seafaring visas. I also became aware of the strict admission procedures and class regimen in Marine Academy of Asia and the Pacific. A week before the ship visit, my nephew came to Manila all the way from Ilocos Sur for medical exams because he’s one of the lucky few who got in the academy. I didn’t know it was that rigid to get in. If only for that, I’m proud of him. My brother is a bit hesitant because of rumors of rampant hazing, but I told him to let my nephew take this chance, and just trust him not to be associated with the wayward ones.

Taken when we left the AMOSUP training ship a little past 5 pm. Beautiful Manila.

Many questions were raised during our group tour (if they watched Captain Phillips included) and of their responses, our tour guide’s quip got to me. We were discussing the state of the different baysides and bodies of water in Manila and neighboring provinces. He said he learned in the 70s that the bay in Tokyo and Manila Bay were the same. Tokyo worked hard to fix theirs, so he believes it is doable to fix Manila Bay. He added that it’s part of his bucket list to spearhead the movement to finally clean up the bay. He acknowledged it as a very daunting dream but he wants to do it. People like him inspires me. And this love for Manila? Amazing.

Buildings along Roxas Boulevard. And that’s not even the side where you could see the magnificent, world-class sunset.

So that’s what I was up to in the past month. I will tell you more about my interesting activities off work, new restaurants I tried, and a steady, interesting update about my reading progress next time.

Thank you, 2013.

Happy New Year! When I did a rundown of the first half of my 2013, it was quite eventful and hopeful. The last half of the year was pretty much the same. Of course, there’s still the “Another year has passed, what now?” vibe  by December 31.


tigger-picnic-03October saw me, and friends Rach and Carms in Bacolod for Rach’s birthday. The Peace Cup was also the same time so a live football game of the Azkals was a bonus. We went there for a gastronomic fix – Manokan Country, Calea, Pendy’s, Felicia’s – we tried them all. And they’re all good. Plus even when we were only three, the thrill of surprising a birthday celebrant when the clock strikes 12 will always be fun for me.

December brought me to Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. It was a sudden training opportunity which gave me the chance to meet colleagues from the East Asia Pacific bureau, catch up with friends, and be with family. Cramped, short, but very fun. Walking around downtown San Francisco (well, the stretch of Market Street and its environs, at least) is the most memorable for me.


I gave my reading report for the year and I tried to forget all about it. All I can say is I’m going to do better this year. Itaga mo yan sa matigas na bato. 😉


Turbulent and messy! The income tax spectacle started this. I also do not know what happened except that I spent a lot. And just when I thought I’m the only one, I hear people who are in the same boat, and frankly, it makes me feel a little bit better. Hahaha! I told my friend it’s a problem I brought to myself anyway. I could blame the government, I could blame the economy, but ultimately, I’m to blame. During the last quarter, my ledger’s a mess. It’s not attractive for a thirty-something to ask money from her mother yet I have done it last year many times. In one of my holiday dinners, I asked one of my best friends to pay for half of my dinner. That’s how terrible it was…is. Though really, it is annoying to complain about having very little money [compared to past Christmases, at least] when many people do not have anything left at all, right? But selfishly speaking, it’s really a tough time, and if you are a relative or a godchild from a distance, you would have felt it. 2014 will be spent restructuring my finances, or whatever’s there to salvage.  It’s just in the way you look at it, Judie.


tigger-alphablock-03I opened my year with a reading day at a public school, courtesy of my bestfriend, on my birthday. I also dabbled into a teaching session with kids living in Manila North Cemetery with the help of the people from ATD Fourth World (thanks, Laine, for this). Of course, everyone has heard of the terrible Yolanda/Haiyan devastation and at least for two sweaty days I got to assist in repacking goods for the casualties within the week after it happened. I also worked with organizations in collecting monetary donations for the victims. It’s an ongoing project and with that is the desire to be there until everything slowly rebuilds.


What kept me glued: The Newsroom Season 2, big Sherlock re-watch before season 3, Scandal, The Blacklist (aha, my daddy issues — Lizzie IS Raymond Reddington’s daughter, dagnabbit), The Goldbergs, regained love for Mike & Molly. Plenty more kept me entertained. If you noticed, Homeland is conveniently missing. It was pushed back in my to-watch list until season 3 ended without me noticing. This year I plan to go back to it. Save money, watch TV! LOL.


tigger-sleephearts-01Hahaha! Anong meron? 2013 actually started off fun then it became not fun and I admit it’s my fault and I was genuinely sorry. See, when there’s someone you think is available, then it turns out he’s no longer available, the next logical course is to stop. I did not. I had fun provoking and posting stuff because I know the girl was reading until it became a bit messy. Was it right? No. Was it fun? Yes, to an extent, THAT TIME. The “it’s never gonna happen” part was clear to me so I wasn’t provoking because of that; it’s that if you know me, at times I do not like the appearance of losing, or in this case, being caught off-guard and embarrassed like that. [What a vindictive bitch.] I did not regret what happened afterwards between the guy and me even if it’s just a bibliophile kind of friendship because we like very different things. Oh well, I just laugh at it now. I’m not doing it again though. I promise. Life is short to be spent doing things like that.

I may be shallow (and vindictive) at times but really, I also get pleased very easily and gets satisfied with small amounts of affection. That’s why simply acknowledging I was always there, as small a gesture as “favoriting” my tweets, always appreciating anything I do, it warms my heart. But it’s not meant to flourish anyway and there was never any indication it will. He’s back in Sweden and if he thinks it’s for the best, I believe it.

Right now, it’s simple but promising (and a tad funny in a giggling fit kind of way), this romantic landscape. I said it before and it’s still the same. I’m happy with whatever is there. I do not take myself seriously the way I did in my twenties; too much insecurity back then because of my weight and overall appearance, too much apprehension because of my supposed image — all deserves a “WTF was that?” right this moment and a shower of yucks.  If nothing’s going to happen, well, I have ways to make myself happy, hehe (I have my books and pirated TV shows, ano ba, get your mind off the gutter). 🙂 Plus I have my own problems to sort and maybe a man will just be a distraction this year (see plan of action in ON FINANCES, above). Let’s see. All I want to do this year is to have fun in everything I do. Nakakapangit ang stress.


I tried applying for another job early in the year but was turned down. I took it as a sign to stay put and possibly do something more to polish my brand. I don’t know if it worked. Hahaha! I was sent for training so even if there’s nothing in print about having to stay, I still feel the need to be more productive to be worthy of the training I got, no matter how short it was. Ten years, man. I may feel lacking and ignorant and clueless at times but I also cannot deny my institutional knowledge and how useful I am in my organization. A decade. Wow. Of course, if a better opportunity comes along, I will definitely consider. “Better” is strictly relative and even when I’m in dire need, taking a job with a higher pay but is obviously not a good fit for me or it’s in a bit of a messy environment, I will pass. Happiness is more important. Yay, where did that come from? 🙂


tigger-confetti-01I plan to work harder (emphasis on -er, LOL) and just be happy each day. I will be out of the calendar, as a popular Pinoy joke goes, in a few days, and frankly, I do not feel any different. If anything, I feel more confident and secure than when I turned, say, 22 — that was the age when I said I’ll take my life more seriously — be it in my romances and hooking up, school activities, work plans — and look where it got me. Only the “work” part paid itself nicely. Gah. 🙂

2013, overall, you were good. Emotional, freaky, fun. Thank you.

On to a new year with hopefully better prospects, more hugs, more books, and more bacon. And French fries. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Happy Cluelessness

I’ve been having full days since last week even if there were days off in between.  I am not complaining, and you know a not-so-secret part of me really enjoys tight activities.  Today, after another hectic day at work, I realized that the more I become busy and cramped, the more focused I get.  It may sound odd but I do feel it.  Remember when I said I couldn’t be oblivious anymore? Those were light days, I guess.  Lately all my parts are up and running.  I hope to sustain it by wishing reasons to be this busy would stay.

Maybe that short and refreshing walk in Roxas Boulevard did it to me.  I take that stretch of sidewalk up to the footbridge in Avenue of the Arts in Sta. Monica whenever I am in the mood but today feels particularly refreshing — yes, the smell of the bay cooperated even though there were piles of garbage from the recent flooding.  It’s cold and windy, too.  Everything felt familiar and right. I walked with a good friend and let that short walk today be a reminder of the time when she told me one of her dogs died after accidentally eating a frog.  It’s unfortunate but also hilarious, sorry.

Anyway, I took that route on purpose because I needed to counter the large cup of iced latte I had and the palpitations it caused.  My friends suggested I drink milk.  I don’t know its merits but since I didn’t know any other alternative, I followed the advice.  So with an “it’s still early” sentiment + I couldn’t have reading time at home [remind me to blog about why] + I need to sit somewhere right now = Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf it is.

Now, to my reading time.  With almost full occupancy of students and business partners and friends, I expected to be distracted.  I wasn’t.  Well, I wasn’t able to shut them off (especially the students doing some editing project — lucky kids, with their gadgets and all; we didn’t have that 10 years ago!] but I didn’t care.   I finished a book and a half.  Just with a pack of plain crackers and a large cup of milk  as my immediate company.  I could have made it two books but I had to stop and check my Twitter and Facebook for distraction because I was reading a horror book (didn’t make it easier that it’s set in the Philippines; you know how I hold our own supernatural/horror stories in such high esteem!) and I was already spooking myself silly.

When I felt it’s proper to tap my shoulder for this achievement in focus and concentration, I became happier when I saw it’s raining hard outside.  No, I wasn’t happy it’s pouring hard and streets were starting to get flooded once more.  But you know, it happened and I didn’t even realize it.  I was seated beside a glass wall and why didn’t I bother looking? Concentration, yes.  CBTL isn’t sound proof. When you’re  facing the bay and it’s raining that hard, you have to be sleeping not to realize it.  Or very very focused like me. Hehe.

Pardon my weird fascination with this.  It’s a feat for me.  I therefore conclude I have to always be up and about to be more focused in what I do.  See, I even got to type this one. A book meme is also coming up next.

It’s a tiny feather in my cap, this small step to put it together and do what I like.  I seemed to have lost this mojo long ago.  I always back-read my blog posts, hoping to re-discover what was happening then, because I was more expressive, more real, more unguarded, not repressed, albeit very emotional to the point of being annoying.  There was a spark back then.  I’m finding it now.  One incoherent step a day, until it becomes coherent again, at least in decent standards, and the spark lights up again.

Unoblivious No More

UnLook who's distracted.obliviousness used to be a trait I was very good at.  I’m not talking about not caring in general because that will open up a can of unpretty (and a few delightful) worms.  I’m referring to being unaware of what’s happening when I’m engrossed in something — reading, specifically.  I think I shared this a few times already, that for some reason I like being lost in the midst of things.  However, I noticed that I’m distracted too easily lately.  I used to not hear nor notice anything when I’m reading but take my Thursday reading time for example: I was distracted by a group next to my table discussing (calmly, in-their-own-small-circle kind of way) osmolysis and ruptured cell membranes that I stopped reading and tinkered my tablet instead.

I’m thinking about it because it seems contrary to another feeling I started having in recent years which is sifting.  I used to like grasping and learning everything.  Looking back, I think it’s because of fear of being left behind.  I evolved, gladly, away from it, and learned to filter what I only want and need.  A certified TV junkie, a concrete example would be the shows I regularly follow — I now stick to 5 regulars even when the number of shows seemed to have doubled than five years ago.  My regulars back in ’07-’09 added up to 18 TV shows a week; that’s a tremendous abuse of the Fair Use policy, don’t you think?  Anyway, I slightly digress.

Maybe it’s simply telling me that caring and focusing are indeed two different things.  I wish to regain my sense of obliviousness though.  It feels a long time ago since I allowed myself to get inside the world of what I was reading.  I don’t want to believe it’s because I have a lot in my mind lately.  If you must know, there’s a zillion stuff going on in my head even before, back when I still can auto-shut off the world and be inside a new one.  Is it the same as indifference?  Maybe, maybe not.  But then, even for a short time, both of them can be healthy for everyone.

Growing Up and Growing Old

One of my best friends lost her mother yesterday.  Everyone of us in the group ushered into our thirties yet it still feels surreal when we have to go through things like this.  Indeed, we’re growing old and, most importantly, growing up together.

Tita B’s death leaves a scarring effect to most of us not only because of her age.  She was a main extension of someone whom we deeply love since we barely fit in our starter bras; a news like that is a different league of its own.  This comes more painfully to those who never left town; who were neighbors, who were there when they had to pick up and bring home M from coffee dates and barkada dinners and other shenanigans.

When M saw us earlier and she broke down, N and I both didn’t know what to do nor say.  I guess the hug said enough.  I don’t know what to say in times like that and maybe, it is best not to say anything.  I just wanted my friend to mourn and cry whenever and wherever she wants to.

I guess this is it.  Except for one vehicular accident when we were in college — and that time we’re still tender creatures who rely on our parents, so what does it matter — everything else we had to go through together seemed nothing a serious talk, a long trip, nor a simple get-together can’t fix: philandering (ex)boyfriends, pesky co-worker, secret crushes, career path confusion.  Nothing like this big.

At any rate, I am continuously inspired by my friend even during moments when she didn’t know what to do.  She has had cryptic messages on Facebook yet she never once sought help apart from prayers.  M and I share many things in common, most of which are coincidental [born at the same hospital (which we discovered 14 years later), same parental setup, a bachelor uncle living with us, etc.] but the main difference is this:  she’s always been stronger than me.  She took risks, miscalculated a few steps, rose up, did it all over again.  She’s guts personified.  So when you see someone like that break down, you will really question the stuff you’re made of.

At this point, we can only promise to always be there for her.  The year of the “firsts” will always be the hardest.  The pain will never go away, but through time, she will learn to manage it.  This is, after all, part and parcel of growing old and growing up together.

Geez, Am I Emma? :-)

“I think you’re scared of being happy, Emma. I think you think that the natural way of things is for your life to be grim and grey and dour and to hate your job, hate where you live, not to have success or money or God forbid a boyfriend (and a quick discersion here – that whole self-deprecating thing about being unattractive is getting pretty boring I can tell you). In fact I’ll go further and say that I think you actually get a kick out of being disappointed and under-achieving, because it’s easier, isn’t it? Failure and unhappiness is easier because you can make a joke out of it.”

– One Day, David Nicholls
(Kindle Locations 658-662). Random House, Inc..

Bye, Brendskie.

What an apt photo to accompany a post about Brenda. Thanks to TJ Bernardino for posting this first on Facebook. Snoopy was Brenda's favorite character!

I lost a dear friend and colleague yesterday. As many of our mutual friends said, the Mass we heard for her was the perfect send-off as she let go and went to God right after the solemn event.

It all came too fast. She had a joint birthday celebration with another good friend in the office and not a single tiny thought occurred that it’s going to be her last. When she was confined in the hospital, we all wished she would come out healthy and go back to work as usual. She was brave and positive all through the ordeal. I know not too many brave people in the face of illness; she was one of the few.

I have known Brenda for close to four years. She was always cheerful. I think she was one of the first people who called me “Miss J”. She had a “gift” and we always badgered her about it. Without knowing any back stories, she told us what she “felt” the moment she stayed in my office for longer than five minutes. These were paranormal stuff that many of you would contest but for us, we believed; all the more when she confirmed it to us without us asking. She was that convincingly good.

She would always have a ready greeting whenever she saw you. Holding an office in a separate room, she always made me feel we never come enough to visit them. She sent me instant messages when it’s time to eat during our administrative days. She didn’t have to do that but she always did. I will miss that.

She stood up for her friends and I greatly admire her for it. When in fights, you would want her to be on your side. I will always treasure our feisty “cheers” during basketball games! She was quick to raise her eyebrows when something was wrong. Eventually though, she was also easy to please. She laughed with gusto and when it’s too much, you won’t hear a sound because she was just covering her mouth and her eyes were reduced to mere tiny lines. I forgot what we laughed about but there was one incident when she was in tears. It was so infectious.

In the last few months before she was hospitalized, we made a habit of exchanging instant messages 5-10 minutes before she left for either home or the hospital (she was undergoing regular checkups then). We discovered a lot more stuff about our respective personal lives; from our HADs (as in hopes, aspirations, and dreams), books (Sweet Valley, Sweet Dreams, Barbara Cartland’s, etc!), trends in our “generation”, politics in the city of Manila, to other “personal” topics that I wish I saved if only to remember her by. We shared one very sumptuous dinner that I will not forget; we ate in Max’s Orosa during its Chicken-all-you-can promo period. We (Brenda, Laine, Barbie, Missy, my Mom and I) literally stuffed ourselves silly with chicken na sarap to the bones.

I am never one to know what to say in times of sickness or tragedy. Whenever she would post her current health status, I could only say that I was waiting for her to go back to the office, and that her new desk would be waiting when we move to the new building. Around October, she was still hopeful , with her, “Sana nga, Miss J” replies. I was comforted and I hoped with her. Around the last week of November, she changed her tone, and told me, “Mukhang malabo na Miss J”, and it shocked me. I was in denial, I guess, and thought, fine, she probably won’t be back in the office, but she’s going to be out of the hospital, and that’s still good enough for me.

I last saw her two months ago. She was paler and her weight dropped a bit; however, she was still the same Brenda I knew, only a little weaker. She laughed at all our jokes (we were a very noisy pack!) and we saw her eyes twinkled again. It was a happy and hopeful night. Weeks later, circumstances prevented me from visiting her a day before she died. I may not have seen her but I know she felt my love for her. I just think that I would like to retain the bubbly person heartily eating deep-fried chicken as my last memory of her.

Everything that happened to her last month hurtled like a train that lost its brakes. Together, we, her friends, got scared, remained hopeful, and stayed on the look out for all possible help we could give. I am very proud of my colleagues. We are not simply officemates; we’re one big family.

Look at her signature pout!!! This was taken on her wedding day in 2009.

It’s hard to accept that she left us too soon. She’s only 30, for heaven’s sake. Sometimes, you can’t help but ask why. I guess, it’s a real struggle to feel complete surrender and acceptance. I cannot begin to imagine the hurt felt by her parents, siblings, most especially her husband, her close friends, and her immediate team mates.

I will miss you, Brendskie. There was so much more to talk about; I wish we had more time. However, I know you are with God now. There’s no more pain, no more pesky blood problems, no more heartaches, physically and emotionally. You fought a hell of a fight. Thank you for that lesson on courage. You were, are, and will always be loved. Have a great time in heaven. Say hi to my Dad for me.

Reverb10: Healing

I was inspired to participate in Reverb10, an online initiative “to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.”  Further, it invites participants to “(U)se the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.”  There are 31 prompts for each day this month to write about what you have to share.  It’s a good kind of introspection.

For more information about Reverb10’s backstory, you can read it here.  I must thank Tui because I found out about Reverb10 from her blog, Mental Mosaic.

Anyway,  I’m a little late in the game but I’ll try sharing.  I will try to backtrack in future posts because the prompts I missed were interesting, too.  I will start today, December 19, where the prompt is Healing.

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

Not too many people know that it has been a struggle for me to forget something that terribly hurt me last year.  I am still carrying it now, at least some of it.  Residual feelings, I must say.  But it’s not anymore about what I didn’t get.  I believe I long abandoned that.  I don’t want him anymore.  It was just my pride and the fact that I wasn’t able to say EVERYTHING I wanted to.  It’s the terrible people-pleaser in me.  I think the persons involved were not aware of the level of hurt I got through — although I’m not saying I was the only victim.  I really hurt people, too, and if it was payback for this doing, well, I don’t know.

Anyway, I can say it was the very selfish part of me, the vindictive side, that sometimes still provokes anger and the propensity to humiliate.  It’s so immature, I know.  So it’s not like I am doing this to further my then-goal.  Again, no.  It was to get back because I wasn’t given the chance to do that.  I found myself embracing an all-encompassing apology, found myself forgetting about it during face-to-face encounters.  A few months after, I was suddenly made to open up again as if nothing happened.

It is very hard but I take these moments when I forget about my hurt as signs of healing.  It tells me that I am very capable of it.  So it’s not sudden but a drip-by-drip evolution, and I’m still in process of doing it.  Sometimes, I can no longer attribute it to being raised as a sheltered only child, but maybe, it’s what I really am.  A bad person? I don’t know.  I’m trying to heal so I won’t be dragged further down that pit.  I’m trying really hard.

Next year, I would like to be healed by forgetting.  I tried and it’s hard.  I am not giving up on myself taking the high road, and with the aid of prayer, seeing that there are things not worth going back to.  Yes, no matter how much I was repressed to finally have my one last say.  He said he’s trying to rebuild his friendship with me and I supported it.  I am very much tempted to ask him if he can, please, let me have one final outburst, just to let it out of my system, then we’ll be on equal footing in terms of rebuilding the friendship.  I know it’s too much of a risk and I still cannot provide a concrete answer to, “What do you hope to accomplish by doing that?” Well, I may not know what exactly will happen but a part of me screams if it happens, by then, I can finally start real healing.

Well, if and only if it happens.  Maybe I’m poised to heal all by myself.  I know in my heart it has to start with me.  Sometimes though, I am still afraid to go through it alone because I don’t know how it will be taken.  I’d like to say, “Hey, a little help here!” but I still cannot find the courage to ask because evasion seems to be a natural part of someone’s psyche.

Anyway, when I’m completely healed, I will see the wisdom, and the wrong things I did in this whole scenario.  I’ll keep you posted.

Code Red

Some of my friends have witnessed my shameless arrogance when I get mad.  I am not easily pissed, mind you.  Like some people, it takes one wrong push of a button to make me tick.  I’ve been mad many times but tonight I noticed I changed.  A bit.

See, I normally don’t react negatively when servers ignore me and my table while at a restaurant.  Especially when I’m with people, and when we’re not in a rush, I completely understand why some servers would take too long, and I would just patiently call again and again.  Tonight, something snapped, and it didn’t help that I’m running a fever.  Plus they ignored us four times already.  And by ignored, I mean acknowledged me calling them, nodded, headed off somewhere and went back a few tables before us, and stopped right there.  Four times.  I hate to admit it but I felt it’s because we look a little less financially endowed than the other customers.  I can’t help it, we really don’t look rich no matter what we do, and most of the customers at that place do look like they are moneyed.  It’s bullcrap but it happens, admit it!

But instead of storming to the manager and telling him my request-turned-objection in my usual raised voice, I still did storm, yes, but I only said a firm and stern statement about the poor service and what they should do about it, walked back to my table, and waited.  Then not just one, but THREE servers came to my table explaining their side.  It should be over by then, right? But I was already mad.  Then again I didn’t say anything anymore.  Someone gave me the bill, I paid it, they were apologizing, they were asking what to do with the left-over food, I didn’t do anything.

A big disgusting truth here is that my voyeuristic nature is very satisfied by many other customers watching that they were talking to me, apologizing profusely, and I was ignoring them the whole time.  Bad, bad, ‘no?

In a way, I am proud of myself for holding out and actually not feeling the urge to verbally embarrass people.  I had that shameful problem before.  Lately, I felt like silence is more potent and gives them less leverage to fight back.

Anyway, when we left, I did not leave any tips (bad, I know) and tore the guest comment card to pieces.  Yes, my evil side so enjoyed showing people how pissed I was.

While all of this was happening, I managed to scare our new househelp and made my Lola a little tense.  I heard my mother tell them that I’m really like this and that it passes.  Well, thank you, mother.  I appreciate that you know this side of me.  This kind of explosion, this kind of flaring up, is something that my mother said I got from my late father.  What’s ugly is that when I get mad and flare up, I usually do it at one big go and after that, I feel okay again, and easily. Then I would be confused if other people aren’t over something when I already am.

It’s too narcissistic.  Seriously, I don’t wish to condone any of it but I am already wired this way.  This is me.   Some people accepted me regardless of this ugly attitude.  If some people can’t, it’s totally fine.  For the benefit of my soul which is probably slowly roasting in hell as we speak, I will try to handle this better when a provocation happens again, and will always ask for divine guidance in acting much much more humanely when I get mad.  For now, they are the only things I can do.

In passing

Something funny happened to me recently.  It was funny and frankly, it’s the only general feeling I had about it.

Someone told me he wants to rebuild his friendship with me.  It was greatly appreciated.  Time really heals and it does good to people.  Anyway, as he went on making himself  felt again via numerous invites, e-mails, and other normal friend stuff we used to do, I realized he wants to do it but he’s carrying conditions with him.  I don’t take it against him because he changed, for the better, and I think he has something to protect now (he still won’t tell me and I don’t think he will, only because I don’t have anything to do with it).

I just found it ridiculous that he set up all these supposed conditions on being friends again in guise of his concern for me and my image while it reeks, as elementary psychology might suggest, of his huge concern for his own image and for other people or things he’s with now.

I didn’t tell him that.  Or I might have, I don’t know, I forgot.  I don’t remember telling him, “Hep hep, don’t make this about me because it’s obviously about you.”   He’s not going to admit it anyway.  But from an objective point of view, it’s very clear.   He said he feels there’s nothing to move on from and continued to ask, maybe that’s what’s wrong about this whole thing.  I told him he’s right.  He’s not compelled to move on from anything  and that’s what he exactly did – two years later and he still feels careful to tread that path as if it’s still, what, 2008? That’s what it seemed to me.  That’s why it’s funny. At least to me.  It’s almost 2011, for God’s sake.

I perfectly understand everything.  He came back and figuratively presented a simple blueprint which indicates where he wants people in his life to be.  Some people can intersect, co-exist, but some cannot.  I told him he’s happy so let’s not rock that boat again.  But you see, when a friend wants to be back, I want all of him back. Sure, things will never be exactly the same, but I’m not going to adjust and be cautious  just to have that friendship again.  It won’t feel natural.  I missed him and our banters and all pathetic things we talk about which is why for now, I’m happy he made all these moves and he’s trying to reconnect.  I will leave it at that.   We both have a lifetime to be friends again and again anyway.

People are people.

I feel so relaxed watching people. I don’t mean it in a creepy, stalkerish kind of way. See, in between reading while having iced coffee, I enjoy looking at people walking; observing their behavior, and occasionally – although incidentally – listening in to conversations.

I take pleasure from looking at a busy canvas. This explains why, if given a choice, I would like a high rise condo unit overlooking the city, the business district, than one overlooking the bay. I love staying in beach resorts but the tranquility of the beach front gets old easily.

I do not know where this stemmed from given my short attention span for crowds. I never liked being with groups of people for long periods of time. It doesn’t mean I dislike people; if anything, I even have what we can call “passive fascination”. However, I tend to move away after sometime, and rejoin when I feel like it. I remember a party at the home of one of my former officemates; in the midst of the party, I retreated to a corner of his makeshift library and he caught me, a glass of wine in hand, reading Franz Kafka. He gave the book to me before I went home that night. Also during our enjoyable game nights in SanLo, during eating breaks, I would go upstairs and sit on the floor in front of the Howes’ huge bookshelves. I functioned much better because of it.

I guess I am leaning towards introversion. Yes, I do know many people, but it doesn’t mean they know me, too. I am known to share lots of things to people I feel affinity for but not to sound eerie, I am keeping more things inside me. I once told someone I am a big tip of an iceberg, pun intended.

I like what people see in me now. I reached a point where I was working hard to ensure that people see me in a way that I want to be seen. Until I grew up. Well, sort of. I got tired keeping up. So I learned to simply sift. My energy can only last long and I learned to use them on activities I love and people I want to be with. There are still lapses and boredom and confusion and disappointment but I’m wading my way through them each time.

Anyway, my bottomline is that I like people. And that I made it through another attempt at an introspective post using Sascha. Like people, I’m beginning to like her now.

Have a great Wednesday night, you all.